The South Carolina Military Base Task Force was a driving force behind military-friendly tax legislation which passed earlier this year
Changes approved by legislators and signed by Gov. Nikki Haley in June give state income tax deductions for military retirees who live in the state and have served at least 20 years. The deductions will be phased in over the next five years.
Eventually, those military retirees younger than 65 and employed could exempt up to $17,500, while those over 65 could deduct up to $30,000 per year.
Task force chairman Bill Bethea told South Carolina Radio Network Wednesday that the panel would like to see the phase-in completely removed. “We’re going to continue to try and work over the next several legislative sessions to try to eliminate it entirely,” he told South Carolina Radio Network. “We think it’s the right thing to do.”
State budget officials predict the measure will mean $18 million less in tax coffers each year.
But supporters say the lower taxes make the state more appealing to military retires so they will relocate and settle in South Carolina. Members of the task force also say the presence of military veterans is one of the factors that the federal Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission uses to recommend which military installations to close.